The work of Couples for Christ (CFC) is the work of evangelization. Evangelization is the bringing of the good news of Jesus to others. The gospel (good news) of Jesus necessarily includes both the spiritual and social dimensions. It is one gospel with both essential dimensions, and there ought to be no dichotomy.
As such, the one work of CFC includes both the spiritual and social dimensions. The one mission of CFC is to bring good news to the poor, who include both the spiritually and materially poor.
In order to accomplish its mission, CFC emphasizes three basic elements:
- Winning of individual souls to Christ;
- Strengthening of families; and
- Working at total human liberation.
It must be emphasized that the above is one work. The three aspects are interrelated, mutually supportive and equally important. Only one or two of the three would be an incomplete work of evangelization.
To help achieve its mission, the pastoral-organizational structure of CFC has been designed to focus on each of the above. The following pillars correspond to each of the three basic elements:
- Evangelization and Mission.
- Family Ministries and Pro-Life.
- Social Ministries and Gawad Kalinga (GK).
CFC and GK
GK is CFC’s integrated, holistic and sustainable work of building communities among the poor. CFC gave birth to GK. As such, GK is part of the one vision, life, work and mission of CFC. This is in accordance with God’s plan.
All members of CFC should share the GK vision of massive global poverty reduction through building vibrant communities among the poor, as well as its vision for nation building. All members should be exposed to GK and ideally be involved in GK in some direct way.
GK and evangelization
The work of GK is fully a part of CFC’s work of evangelization. It is bringing the good news of Jesus to the poor. Further, since our work with the poor brings us to the fullness of Jesus’ mission and to a work that requires us to give much of ourselves, GK is also a way to continue the evangelization process for and deepen the transformation of existing CFC members.
GK also is a creative way of evangelizing the rich. By engaging the rich in our work with the poor, we are getting them involved in the very mission of Jesus. This way, the Holy Spirit will have the opportunity to touch their hearts and bring them to a wider and deeper conversion.
Our massive work in the Philippines also impacts on our evangelization throughout the world, especially in the secular nations of the First World. The Christian duty to help the desperately poor extends to all people of all races and nations. In today's globally connected world, people in the First World are fully aware of the plight of the poor in countries like the Philippines and are open to responding to their needs. If we touch their hearts to do so, the process of evangelization has begun.
GK and nation building
Evangelization includes the task of nation building, as Jesus instructed his disciples to “make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). As such, CFC is also involved in nation building.
Aside from the work of our Social Ministries that seek to bring liberation to various aspects (media, education, health, armed services, prisons, women) and dimensions (political, economic, environmental) of society, our primary way of nation building is GK.
GK brings all sectors of society to focus on a specific task that affects the lives of the poor, who form the majority of citizens in most countries. GK, especially by way of GK777, is profoundly inspiring and can bring out the heroism in people.
The task of nation building in CFC and GK is not limited to those who live in the country itself. The participation of a nation’s diaspora should in fact be a major goal.
GK and CFC
GK communities have GK Caretaker Teams that are on the ground and form the core group in building up the GK community. The members of such Caretaker Teams are mainly CFC.
The support for individual GK communities is generally provided by the sectors, clusters and chapters within the vicinity. As such, we seek to mobilize all of CFC to participate in the work of GK. In accomplishing this goal, the ideal structural set-up is for the Chapter Head to be concurrently the GK Project Director, with the Unit Heads functioning as GK program heads.
For CFC members outside the country, their involvement would primarily take the form of heralding the good news of God’s work to people in the country where they reside. CFC is called to be the caretaker of the vision for those outside the country. CFC should establish chapter-based teams to do this work, in accordance with the structure recommended by the CFC International Council.
GK and the Family and Social Ministries
GK is our expert in building communities among the poor. But the Family and Social Ministries also bring their specialized focus and expertise to the work of GK. Thus GK and the Family/Social Ministries should collaborate closely in order to bring integration in the overall work of GK. GK is not to form a distinct and parallel organization to cover aspects of the work that properly belong to and should be handled by the Family and Social Ministries. On the other hand, we recognize the unique situation of the poor and thus need to adapt to their situation. Such adaptation is basically under the direction of GK, in coordination with the Ministries.
GK has its own structure for governance. In the Philippines, GK is incorporated as Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation Inc. (GKCDFI). It has a Board of Directors of 10, including the 7 members of the CFC International Council. This assures unity of direction for the whole of CFC including GK. GKCDFI is under the authority of the CFC International Council.
In the Philippine provinces, there are GK Management Boards that direct the work of GK. The GK Management Board has 9 members, including the 5 members of the Area Council. The GK Management Board is under the authority of the CFC Area Council.
Just like the Family Ministries and the Social Ministries, GK has its own vertical governance structure with which to oversee and implement the work from day-to-day.
Just like any element of its work, CFC is committed to support the financial needs of GK. At the same time, GK generates its own funds for operations through donations and sponsorships. Further, GK will seek to provide for its own administrative expenses through donations, income from events (conference, expo), and its share in retention for administration from sponsorships.
CFC members are strongly encouraged to financially support our work with the poor. Such support however should be over and above tithes.
However, while CFC members are expected to make padugo with their finances (aside from time and talent), they are not the primary market for fundraising. Rather, the main role of CFC members is to be advocates for the work. By sharing the vision for global poverty reduction and by encouraging partnerships, they should strive to bring in external partners and sponsors who will provide the needed funds.
Finally, while funds from CFC can be used to seed GK programs and ANCOP-GK work abroad, funds from ANCOP-GK should not be diverted to fund CFC activities.
Human resource allocation
The CFC and GK leadership should collaborate in allocating manpower resources to GK and non-GK services.
Since the work with the poor is part of the vision and mission of CFC, all CFC members ought to undergo the relevant formation programs, including a week-end retreat three months after the MER, called the Church of the Poor Retreat. Further, GK Empowerment should be given sometime during the second year.
The CLP will remain basically as it is, including the limited interpretation of Luke 4:18 in the Orientation Session and the limited definition of Christianity in Session 3. This is because the CLP has a very specific purpose, and that is personal spiritual transformation and renewal. Our work with the poor can be mentioned briefly however in some of the CLP talks. The greater exposure to and formation regarding our work with the poor will come later.
All members should be involved in some way in our work with the poor. However, we must not neglect anything else that God has given us as part of our life and mission. We must proceed with our person-to-person evangelization, have our CLPs to the non-poor, pursue our corporate evangelization, faithfully attend our households and other meetings, and be open to serve in work other than GK. In fact, our ultimate effectiveness in doing work with the poor, according to the mind of God for CFC, will depend greatly on our personal growth in holiness and strong family life.
Pastoral approach to outsiders
While GK is a part of CFC, our pastoral approach in promoting our work with the poor with the non-CFC sectors of society is generally to project GK and not CFC. This is basically because there could be many potential sponsors and partners who do not want to deal with religious groups, but who would be very open to dealing with a social development group. Therefore, depending on the particular situation, we might make no mention at all about CFC, at least initially.
However, it is not our intention to deceive or to hide the reality that CFC is behind GK. If asked, we should not deny the connection. In fact, making such a connection is the way that GK becomes a work of evangelization, when the good done is connected with Jesus. The connection is made when those served realize that we are for Christ and that we help them out of our love for Jesus. Otherwise, beneficiaries would be grateful for their improved lives, but would not necessarily connect these to the workings of God. They would receive good news, but would not know this is the good news of Jesus.
In further fact, we should be aware of the danger of looking at GK strictly from the social point of view. GK is part of our evangelistic mission. GK is part of God’s plan in the full development of CFC’s mission. If we helped the poor materially but failed to follow through on their spiritual renewal, then we would not have accomplished our mission. GK would then have become just another charitable or philanthropic work. And the poor would have been lifted out of material poverty but not brought into the fullness of a blessed life in God.
While CFC is one body and its work, including GK, is one work, due to the complexity of its pastoral-organizational structure and the demands of its mission, there can arise some conflicts—in manpower allocation, in finances, in schedule of activities, in priorities, etc. Conflicts can arise between the territorial and GK governance groups. Conflicts can arise in the relationship between the Family/Social Ministries and GK. These are to be resolved by the leaders in a spirit of unity, loyalty and fraternal love. In case of impasse, the conflict is to be passed on to the next higher levels of leadership. The ultimate arbiter for unresolved conflicts is the CFC International Council.
Those working in GK and those working in the Family/Social Ministries must also be careful not to speak against or be critical about the other. Differences must always be resolved in brotherly dialogue, being mindful that we do in fact belong to one body doing one mission.
In our work of renewing the face of the earth, now intensified by the work of GK and GK777, we must always be mindful of the attacks of the enemy. We can overcome only as we stand united and loyal to one another.
Approved by CFC Council on March 3, 2006.
- ↑ An exception would be our Muslim GK communities, whose Caretaker Teams are made up mostly of Muslims.
- ↑ If need be and as an exception, there can be an Asst. GK Project Director.
- ↑ There are papers that describe in detail the practical integration of GK and the Family/Social Ministries.
- ↑ There will be occasions when GK Empowerment will be given to members even in their first year (for example, GK workers). There will also be occasions when people who are not even CFC will go through the GK Empowerment.
- ↑ Focusing on the spiritual dimension of the good news.
- ↑ We speak of faith but not yet works.
- ↑ Such as Session 10 on Growing in the Spirit, as one practical way we can serve others. Or Session 11 on The Life and Mission of CFC, where we describe the history and progression of CFC and where we present our statement of mission.
- ↑ Evangelization does not necessarily mean conversion to the Christian faith. Evangelization is sharing the good news of Jesus with others. Thus, in doing GK for Muslims, we do not seek to convert them to Christianity. We however go there as CFC, in the name of Jesus, proclaiming his good news to the poor.